Play this Game to Come Up with New Ideas

Shimpei Takahashi is a Japanese toy designer, which some of you may heard of because of the toy that he developed which is basically bubble wrap that you can pop over and over again.  In this Ted talk, Takahashi shares his story of when he first began designing for his company.  He came to his boss with many new ideas every day, but his boss responded with asking him how the market trends data supported these ideas.  Takahashi had not been looking at data, so he began analyzing the data, and found that this method of designing squashed his creativity.  So after struggling with this and going nowhere, Takahashi began playing games such as Shiritori, which is a word game, where you shuffle through many words, with the next word starting with the first letter of the last letter of the previous word, such as cat-time-exit-trombone, etc.  By going through so many different, seemingly random processes, your brain is able to make connections and combine new ideas that you may not have thought of before.  Then, when you come up with so many ideas at a time, surely one is going to hit the mark of the target you are aiming for.

If I play this game with the Eagle Library to come up with concepts, it might look something like this…I know from our mind-breaking sessions with clients that Community was a huge theme throughout many of our conversations.  The game of Shiritori might look a little something like this then:

Community-yoga-apple-everyone-energy-youth-Hercules-snow-water-racetrack-king-graffiti.  This might lead to an idea for using graffiti throughout the library as a way of signage and connection and building community.

Takahashi, S. (Director) (2013, May 1). Play this Game to Come Up with Original Ideas. Ted Talk. Lecture conducted from TedxTokyo, Tokyo.


3 thoughts on “Play this Game to Come Up with New Ideas

  1. Whoa what an original and inspiring way to come up with new ideas, did Shimpei mention games he created using this method? If so I bet they were a blast! What did your coworkers think of this great new technique?


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